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[This is the feed of only English episodes.] How do scientists uncover phenomena and explain their connections? How do engineers design machines, methods and infrastructure? At omega tau, experts give detailed answers. Over the last ten years, we have produced 300 episodes in which we dug deeper, until we ran out of questions. Join us on our journey through the world of science and engineering: the closer you look and listen, the more interesting things get.

[This is the feed of only English episodes.] How do scientists uncover phenomena and explain their connections? How do engineers design machines, methods and infrastructure? At omega tau, experts give detailed answers. Over the last ten years, we have produced 300 episodes in which we dug deeper, until we ran out of questions. Join us on our journey through the world of science and engineering: the closer you look and listen, the more interesting things get.
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United States

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[This is the feed of only English episodes.] How do scientists uncover phenomena and explain their connections? How do engineers design machines, methods and infrastructure? At omega tau, experts give detailed answers. Over the last ten years, we have produced 300 episodes in which we dug deeper, until we ran out of questions. Join us on our journey through the world of science and engineering: the closer you look and listen, the more interesting things get.

Language:

English


Episodes

326 – Weather Forecasting at the ECMWF

10/19/2019
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Earlier this year I visited the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, a European organization that produces global weather forecasts and performs research on how to improve those. The episode has three parts. First, Hilda Carr gives us an overview of the organization, its purpose and its history. Then I talk with Peter Bauer about weather and climate modeling and about encoding these models efficiently in software programs that run on supercomputers. Part three is a...

Duration:03:05:25

324 – Air Traffic Control at Heathrow and RIAT

9/27/2019
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In July I visited the NATS tower at Heathrow Airport to interview my guest Adam Spink. We chatted about some of the mechanics of air traffic control at Heathrow and the unique ways of optimizing throughput. A few days later we met again on the tower of Fairford during RIAT 2019 and chatted about the specifics of ATC'ing during an airshow.

Duration:02:34:06

321 – Societal Change and the Climate

8/29/2019
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I am interested in societal change: how can a complex society with lots of emergent (perhaps unintended) behaviors make a conscious change, such as transitioning to a more sustainable economy? We discussed this from an engineering perspective in the episode on Modeling Socio-Technical Systems, and we've looked at it historically in the episode on Societal Complexity and Collapse. In this episode we look at the topic more from the perspective of civil society and politics. Our guest ist Maja...

Duration:00:58:41

320 – The Event Horizon Telescope

8/16/2019
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A few months ago, a collaboration called the Event Horizon Telescope presented the first direct image of a black hole; or more specifically, of the radiation created by accelerated particles at its event horizon. The EHT is a Very Large Baseline Interferometer, in which radio telescopes all over the world are computationally connected to obtain resolutions that are not possible with one telescope. In the episode I chat with Heino Falcke, the chair of the EHT science committee, about the...

Duration:01:30:13

318 – (My Flight with) The USAF Thunderbirds

7/19/2019
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In June 2019 I had the pleasure and honor to fly in an F-16D with the USAF Thunderbirds. The episode covers the medical briefing about how to prevent motion sickness and how to deal with Gs, suiting up with flight suit, g-suit, harness, helmet and mask, the briefing with my pilot Maj. Jason Markzon, the flight itself with commentary, an interview about the Thunderbirds with Jason, as well as a reflection on what the flight meant to me, recorded together with Nora.

Duration:03:33:38

317 – The ALICE Detector

7/9/2019
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In May I visited ALICE, one of the four large experiments at the LHC and talked with Despina Hatzifotiadou. We briefly discussed the science that ALICE is interested in, and then spent the majority of the time dissecting the detector to understand its components and how they detect the various products of particle collisions.

Duration:02:02:26

315 – Modeling Socio-Technical Systems

6/14/2019
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Socio-technical systems are systems where (groups of) humans interact with (non-trivial) technical systems; an example is the power grid. The people, the technical system and the combination might easily lead to complex behavior that is hard to predict and control over the long term. However, as illustrated by, for example, the need to transition our energy infrastructure to a more sustainable structure, it is necessary for society to "control" such systems. Igor Nikolic is a professor at...

Duration:02:42:51

314 – London Air Ambulance

6/1/2019
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Earlier this year I visited the London Air Ambulance, a charity organization that flies two MD-902 helicopters over the UK's capital. I chatted with their chief pilot Neil Jeffers about the flying and some of the medical aspects. My recorder then joined Neil on a short flight to their hangar at RAF Northolt. There, we met Adam Spink, a NATS air traffic controller at Heathrow, and the three of us chatted about the ATC perspective of flying helicopters (sometimes) in Heathrows's approach.

Duration:02:13:57

312 – The Wendelstein 7-X Fusion Experiment

5/11/2019
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In our never-ending quest to understand fusion and its potential use in energy production, I visited the Wendelstein 7-X fusion experiment in Greifswald run by the Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik. We started out with a visit to the experiment hall, while experimentalist Matthias Hirsch gave us an overview over the machine. Next we discussed theory and modeling with Ralf Kleiber. Finally, I returned to Matthias Hirsch, and we chatted about more experimental aspects of Wendelstein. It is...

Duration:03:27:49

309 – Forensic Engineering

4/9/2019
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In this episode I chat with Sean Brady about structural failures in civil engineering. We first discuss the technical and organzational causes for such failures. We then look at Sean's specialty, forensic engineering, which is about analyzing failures to determine the root cause. Sean also has his own podcast in which he delves into much more detail about engineering failures, not just in construction.

Duration:02:04:58

306 – Flying the RC-135S Cobra Ball

3/9/2019
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Throughout the cold war, and til today, the Cobra-codenamed ground, sea and air assets have been used by the US to monitor Soviet/Russian ICBM missile launches and warhead reentries. The air component consists of the RC-135 Cobra Ball/Eye aircraft. Flying from Shemya in the Aleutians they used cameras and other sensors. Our guest, Robert Hopkins has been flying the aircraft in the late 1980s. In this episode he tells us about the mission and the flying -- Shemya could be quite challenging.

Duration:01:33:30

304 – The Past, Present and Future of Fusion Energy

2/9/2019
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Justin and Jason wrote a nice book on fusion called The Future of Fusion Energy, and this episode is based on this book. We start out by revisiting the breakthroughs that drove progress in fusion over the decades, including understanding stars, the tokamak, superconducting magnets, supercomputers and a number of specific aspects of plasma physics. We then look at the current state of fusion research as well as where it might go.

Duration:02:15:35

300 – How Processors Got So Fast

12/17/2018
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Have you ever wondered how the processor in your phone or computer got so much more faster than what the increase in megahertz suggests? In this episode we talk with Lex Augusteijn about superscalar processors, pipelining, speculative execution, register renaming and the like. We also discuss concerns other than speed, in particular, energy efficiency.

Duration:02:25:00

299 – Gravity Storage

12/2/2018
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With power generation in the grid becoming more diverse and decentralized, energy storage is becoming more and more important. Eduard Heindl's gravity storage is an approach to storing electrical energy as potential energy by lifting huge masses cut out of the ground. While this sounds crazy, there are lots of reasons why this makes sense. In the episode we discuss then need, the general approach, the construction process and some of the engineering challenges. We also look at the innovation...

Duration:01:40:16

297 – Flying the AH-64 Apache

11/18/2018
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In mid-September I drove to Illesheim Army Airfield to meet with Caleb Marheine who flies the AH-64 Apache helicopter there. We talked about the helicopter's systems, the cockpit, aspects of flying it as well as some of the missions.

Duration:02:28:50

295 – BepiColombo

10/26/2018
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On October 20, the BepiColombo started its flight to Mercury on an Ariane 5 from Kourou. I was at the launch press event at ESOC in Darmstadt to follow the launch and to record a couple of interviews. The episode consists of three major parts. The first part is an interview with Pablo Munoz about mission analysis and flight dynamics. The second part looks at the science with Joe Zender, Roberto Peron, Ajako Matsuoka and Joana Oliveira. And part three are multiple short takes with Paolo...

Duration:02:12:18

292 – Gene Editing with CRISPR/Cas

9/14/2018
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CRISPR is a family of DNA sequences in bacteria and archaea that are a part of these organisms' cellular defense system. A recent discovery showed how this mechanism can be used to edit genes much more easily than legacy methods. In this episode I chat with Sam Sternberg about the naturally occuring CRISPR systems, how they work, and how CRISPR together with its associated enzymes can be used to cut, and subsequently, edit, DNA. We conclude the episode with an outlook on the potential use in...

Duration:01:31:34

291 – Flying in the Papuan Bush

8/31/2018
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I chat with Daniel Geaslen about bush flying. His (at this time, former) job is to fly Kodiak turbo props for Mission Aviation Fellowship in Papua Indonesia, supplying remote villages. We cover the airplane, the missions, as well as the flying itself, with a particular focus on weather and challenging airfields.

Duration:01:44:05

290 – Langs Biogas-Kraftwerk

8/17/2018
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Vor ein paar Wochen habe ich Ernst-Günther und Matthias Lang auf ihrem Hof und Biogas-Kraftwerk besucht. Wir haben uns unterhalten über den Verarbeitungs- und Energiegewinnungsprozess, die Integration und Synergien mit der Landwirtschaft sowie Aspekte der Wirtschaftlichkeit und der Unterstützung erneuerbarer Energien in Deutschland generell.

Duration:02:09:19

289 – Music Production at Sandlane Studios

8/1/2018
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A few years ago, I interviewed Arjen Lucassen about his wonderful music and how he makes it; obviously, I am a big fan! Recently, his Ayreon universe was performed live on stage and I was blown away. I decided I had to talk the the guy behind the live shows, Joost van den Broek. Luckily he agreed. So I visited him in his studios and we talked about music production and arrangement in general, and specifically for the Ayreon live shows.

Duration:02:06:54